Tag Archives: Practical

MS: Pockets and Sundry

So, Dalrock recently had a series of posts concerning pockets in women’s clothing (or lack thereof) and the general moaning from women about it.

Now, I made a transition from wearing almost exclusively jeans to wearing skirts as often as possible and quickly bumped into the whole pocket issue. Me being me, I naturally began seeking out alternatives that could be worn with skirts. I found all manner of very fancy “pocket belts” meant to be worn over skirts which are great if you like to rock that kind of look. For more simple options there was the HipKlip, which was a pretty good solution, but it didn’t drive enough business to stay profitable and they closed up shop (at least, last I heard they did). There are also medicine pouches that can be slid onto any belt you care to wear them with and other holster style solutions. However, I quickly realized that the most functional option was in fact the humble apron. Funny how when women gave up keeping the home they also gave up pockets in the process.

All this ignores the solution that women typically prefer, the purse. Because, honestly, when they leave the house women are toting around way more stuff than just their phone and their wallet. Pockets won’t accommodate everything the average woman carries, even assuming she wanted to put all of them in pockets where they could accidentally fall out or get intermingled with other items. Fashion designers are smart enough to know this and therefore don’t go out of their way to add excessive numbers of pockets. Most women just use purses and get on with their lives because it is a better solution anyway.

Another simple reason that most of women’s clothing doesn’t feature usable pockets is because the fabric won’t cope well with their addition. When darn near everything is made of stretchy polyester, adding pockets will create some really weird bulging and downward stretching when you put anything in them. I do have skirts and dresses with pockets, but they are all made out of sturdy material that won’t stretch when you put something in said pockets. Jackets are the big exception to the polyester regime and naturally feature the typical hand pockets and the weird breast pockets that only survival horror game protagonists use. The only fake pockets I’ve ever had on a jacket were on my horse show jacket, where I wouldn’t want to put anything in them anyway.

For the rich ladies there are these wonderful things called “tailors” who can make you a nice suit jacket with real pockets if you want them. Not that anyone at your job would blink if you carried a purse into the office with you, so that would be down to personal preference as opposed to the office dress code. Even for the non-rich ladies pockets are a possibility if you have any inkling of how to sew and a conveniently placed seam on the clothing you wish had pockets. Maybe I’ll write a little tutorial on how to do that.

So, overall, to the surprise of no one, women (in the media) are complaining about nothing again.  More surprising perhaps is the fact that by giving up the home and the knowledge that went with keeping it, women gave up their two primary sources of pockets: Aprons and homemade (or home adjusted) clothing.  Any woman who cares to find a solution has many options available, but they already know that.

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MS: Growing Fruit Trees from Seeds

Since I frequently complain about having no garden, I suppose my posting this requires a bit of backstory. It should be known that I am sentimental about the strangest things, in this case, NSR going and buying me pears when I was feeling really ill. I felt a strange urge to remember this gesture, so I looked up how to take the seeds and grow them into trees. Since I know there are people who read my blog who have an interest in self sufficiency, I decided I would pass it on.

It’s a bit more complicated than you might expect, but not too difficult. Personally I’m planning to gather seeds throughout the year and plant them in planters in the fall. I’m curious to know what hybrids I’ll end up with.

 


#NoNothingNovember

I saw this over at Stingray’s and since it dovetailed nicely with what I’ve been thinking about anyway, I decided I will be participating. I can’t say I intend to actually enter the contest, since I don’t focus too heavily on manosphere stuff or write for men as my target audience. I’m mostly just doing this because I was thinking only yesterday that I needed some more structure in my life, so I thought about it awhile and came up with three goals.

1. Get up at a decent hour and go to bed at a decent hour.

I have about a million different ways I could add structure to my life, but for me building habits is a one-step-at-a-time deal. So I decided to start with something simple. Making sure I get up a decent hour will make it much easier to use my time more efficiently and make it easier to get up on the rare occasions that I work during the week. I discussed this with NSR (he’s in charge of the alarm clock) and we decided 7:30 am would be a good time for me to get up. I’ll probably be aiming for a bedtime between 9:30 and 10 pm.

2. Finish things on the same day I start them.

I couldn’t come up with a better way to phrase this goal, given that it covers several categories of housework. What I mean is that pots and mixing bowls get washed on the same day they’re used; laundry doesn’t languish in the basket or worse yet, the dryer; dishes don’t sit on the counter long after they’re dry, etc. I’ve never been in charge of all the steps of any housekeeping task before, but I need to learn to get it all done so that the house won’t be a total disaster when kids come along.

3. Do something creative every day.

I haven’t been paying much attention to my artwork or my writing lately and that isn’t good for me. I need to keep my creative juices flowing. So everyday I will do at least one of these: knit, sew, draw, paint, write (poetry or fiction), decorate house (with stuff we already have or free things I can acquire, no shopping), garden, or learn a new creative skill/craft. I’m also going to count squaredancing, Altar Society meetings, and “service opportunities” like helping at the church Halloween party tomorrow as creative things. I’m also allowed to read if I’m doing research for something creative.

I may add more things if I manage to master one of these too quickly, but for now I’m going to leave it at that.


Requests and Suggestions

All the attention I got from my last couple of serious posts made me feel the need to hide for a bit. I’m so introverted that even internet attention wears me out. I only have serious posts that I’m working on now, so I’m going to share a few things, ask a few questions and try to give myself some more time to recoup.

For the more environmentally conscious among my readers, I’ve discovered a “green” drain cleaner which works rather spectacularly. It’s called “Drainbo”. It’s microbial, so it takes a little prep, but I think it’s worth it.

I’ve realized that what I’ve historically disliked about whole grain bread is not the taste or smell, but the fact that many whole grain breads had their flour ground by lazy cave men. I object to having large chunks of grain baked into my bread. I’d like my flour properly ground please.

NSR has noticed his increase in horse related knowledge. After a recent outing at the local fair he commented that he could interpret the horses’ body language and then told me if he ever got a horse, he was blaming me. Being the thinking sort, this got me musing over what kind of horse owner NSR would be. I decided that he would be the proud owner of some big, goofy, friendly horse. He wouldn’t ride often, but he would teach it all sorts of tricks, like how to play soccer and steal your hat. I told him what I thought, after which he said “I really do want a horse now”. Oops. Not what I was going for.

I have to really appreciate how God looks after me. I got a wire impaled in my tire today and wasn’t able to pull it out. Next time I stopped to check on it, it was gone and my tire wasn’t losing any air. Our landlady is rather on the ball too. We called her to tell her our outlet was making strange noises and kept kicking off. She had the electrician out promptly the next morning. I took a recording of the noise, but I don’t know how to convert it to the proper file type at present.

NSR and I decided that I’m not going to the grocery store after 6pm without him anymore, because I keep getting approached by guys who are “new in town” and are somehow oblivious to the “keep your distance” vibe I emanate when I’m alone. I really need to figure out how to politely extricate myself from these sorts of encounters, I’m not very good at that.

I also need to find someone who will trim my hair, without charging me $50 and parting my hair the wrong way while they’re at it.

I got asked for the first time whether I was NSR’s daughter. I’m surprised it took this long for someone to ask me.

As for my requests, I need slow cooker recipes. Ones that are low in sugar and carbs, and preferably high in beef content. Since I’m kind of new to cooking, please make sure that your recipes include detailed instructions. I can’t really infer what to do solely from an ingredient list.

I could use some tips as for what cuts of meat are good for what types of dishes.  I realized I had no knowledge in this area when I went to buy beef for stir fry and was sort of dumbfounded about what to get.

I’m curious whether anyone would care to see the doodles I do of my daily outfits for inspiration in regards to feminine style? I’d probably put them somewhere other than here.

Also, suggestions on how to get over a dumb “crush” I have on a vacant house that isn’t for sale and we couldn’t afford even if it was.


MS: Mamamagoosa’s 3 Bean Chili

And yes, it has meat in it too.

This is what my mother  made when she used to entertain (mostly before I was born) and it was always a very popular dish. We still ate it a lot after I was born, since it was a good way for us poor folks to get a few good meals at a cheap price. She says that how she derived this recipe was to study contest winning chili recipes and figure out what ingredients they all had in common. Later on she added the third kind of beans. I’ve always loved this recipe, so I figured I’d share.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 TB of Margarine (or butter)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of ground meat
  • 1 can of pinto beans (15 oz)
  • 1 can of dark red kidney beans (15 oz)
  • 1 can of black beans (15 oz)
  • 1 TB (pure!) chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 TB paprika
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)
  • 1/2 can of water

Dutch oven version:

Cook onion and garlic in margarine until golden brown. Add tomato sauce, water, bean juice and spices. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Do Not Boil.  Cook meat until brown. Add meat and beans to juices and sauce. Simmer 15 to 30 minutes until spices are blended. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Slow cooker version:

Cook onion and garlic until golden brown in skillet, put in slow cooker. Cook meat until brown in same skillet, put in slow cooker. Add beans with juices, tomato sauce, water and spices to slow cooker. Cook on low 3 hours or more. Remove bay leaf and serve.

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And that’s it! It will probably be a little thinner than you might expect from a chili, but it will thicken up nicely the next day, if there’s any left. Also, make sure you get pure chili powder. We had to seek out a different brand because the one my mother had been using started cutting it with oregano, leading to there being way too much oregano in the recipe. You should be able to find real, pure chili powder in the Hispanic section of your grocery store.


MS: A Tip for Quiet Girls

I want to caution anyone reading this advice that I never got asked out using this trick, but I got a lot of fun conversations using this. I call it either “the Surprise” or more endearingly but somewhat less accurately, “the Quirk”.  I’m not sure how useful this will be, but I got to thinking about it because of this post by Donal and this post on Girls Being Girls.

The basic premise of the Surprise is that it is something that allows another person to easily strike up a conversation with you. I call it the Surprise because it helps if it is just a little unusual and makes the other person curious. I discovered this before I was dating age and basically rediscovered it in college.

There are three varieties of the Surprise that I’ve discovered. The Accessory, the Item, and the Behavior. For examples I’ll tell you my story about each one of these.

The Accessory:

This is the one that I discovered very early on and completely by accident. As a child I was obsessed with dragons, so one Christmas, R (my father figure) got me a rather large, wooden dragon pendant. I wore it every chance I got, even if I had to wear it in a way that nearly strangled me. I was quite small (I’m still quite small) and the pendant was rather large, so naturally it got noticed by people. The most distinct memory I have about it opening a conversation was when my mother and I were at a restaurant waiting to pick up an order. A very tattooed man who was also waiting simply had to talk to me about my beautiful pendant and relate it to the huge dragon tattoo that he was slowly getting. I didn’t say much, being a shy child, but the door was still opened and I met someone I never would have spoken to. This wasn’t flirting (at least I hope it wasn’t), but in another situation this same pendant could have given an interested young man a legitimate opener that was related specifically to me. So he doesn’t have to open with something generic and potentially annoying.

Admittedly the Accessory works best if a) it was a gift or b) it has some sort of special meaning to you, that way you can keep the conversation going once the person opens and you don’t seem vain.

The Item:

I live in a part of the country where, if you were born there, you’re not supposed to use an umbrella. An umbrella is the mark of a tourist. However, as an artist and a student I had stuff I needed to keep dry and my trenchcoat wasn’t going to keep my bag dry. So I bought an umbrella. An umbrella with a sword handle. So, not only do I not get called a tourist, I get a lot of comments on how awesome my umbrella is. The added bonus is that when I think it will rain later and I want to carry it, I’d stuff the umbrella in my bag and leave the handle sticking out. This meant I got a lot of people asking me if I was really carrying a sword. One guy even said, “Please tell me that’s real!”. It works nicely in combination with my feminine outfits, because it’s unexpected.

Works best if it is something you actually need and therefore don’t have to make excuses to use it. Also don’t make a big show of using it, for you it should be totally normal, it’s other people who are supposed to be pleasantly surprised and intrigued.

The Behavior:

That’s a very ambiguous name, but I couldn’t come up with a better term. I used to read in between classes and did whenever I had to wait outside classrooms. However, whenever I got to wait between classes and had a flat surface in front of me I would do origami instead. I stopped reading between classes because unless I was reading a short story I couldn’t make much progress and I was frequently interrupted by others. Mostly asking me the aggravating question of “What are you reading?”, which annoyed me quite a lot because they ought to be able to read the title off the cover, but I digress. Also, I wanted to fold the origami anyway for other reasons. So that’s what I started doing. Naturally, this is somewhat unusual (okay, very), so it garnered a lot of questions from people. Why was I doing it? Did it take me long to learn? Was I trying to fold x number of them? Will you teach me? etc. I even learned the party trick of folding my origami of choice with one hand. It also came in handy on occasion. The point here of course is that it got people to notice and talk to me, without having to be loud, brash, or anything other than what I am.

This one is probably the hardest to apply, because it needs to be something that you want to do, would do anyway, and isn’t annoying or expensive.

There are things that apply to all three of these categories. The most important being that the Surprise has to relate to you, it has to tell other people something about you, something real. Don’t go out and learn to fold origami because that’s what I do, go out and learn what you want to learn. If that’s origami, fine, just make sure it’s what you want to do. Don’t go out and buy a big gaudy piece of jewelry to get attention. Think long and hard about your interests and try and figure out what other people always find interesting or surprising about you. Figure out how to show that to other people without saying a word. Make others curious about you. Is it a sure fire way to get men to ask you out? No. It just gets people to talk to you, which opens the door for friendships and romantic relationships. It just another thing that can make you easier to approach.

And don’t forget to smile. That’s the best way to pleasantly surprise someone.


Wedding Progress

This is another post I’ve been meaning to write for awhile that Donal has unintentionally pestered me in to writing. On NSR’s Pacific Rim post he asked about the wedding prep. Rather than answer him on that post I figured I’d write an update.

We have started attending our premarital counseling and have a wedding date set for this fall. We have a venue, which sadly isn’t a church because we want to get married before we die of old age. I have a dress, which is frillier than I intended, but I can’t argue with a dress that fits me. Basically all we have left to iron out is how many guests are attending and how much we need to feed them. And I need to figure out how to get NSR to wear at least some slacks at the wedding.

Because of how NSR and I met, we are somewhat obliged to invite certain members of the manosphere to attend.

We cordially invite SSM and HHG, van Rooinek and his wife, 7man and Lena (CL), and BSkillet if he’s still around.

Given the short notice, we will understand if you cannot make it.

No offense to anyone else who wanted to attend, but this wedding is going to be a pretty small affair and I didn’t want to outnumber my relatives with people from the manosphere. We are trying to put together a wedding registry, but given we’re both kind of immature we have to curb our instinct to fill it with things like the Babylon 5 Complete Collection or nunchaku.

NSR says Wdydfae can come as a guest or as the DJ.